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Apple, TikTok to skip Senate hearing on data security

Paul Conner

Representatives from tech giant Apple and popular Chinese social media video app TikTok are not scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, despite an invitation from lawmakers to do so amid growing concern consumers’ data may be at risk in China.

“Unfortunately, on short notice we were unable to provide a witness who would be able to contribute to a substantive discussion,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement to FOX Business. “We remain committed to working productively with Congress as it looks at how to secure the data of American users, protect their privacy, promote free expression, ensure competition and choice among internet platforms, and preserve U.S. national security interests.”

TikTok was given a five- or six-day notice about the hearing, sources told FOX Business.

A spokesperson for Apple did not return FOX Business' request for comment.

US TO INVESTIGATE VIDEO-SHARING APP TIKTOK OVER NATIONAL SECURITY CONCERNS

Sen. Josh Hawley,R-Mo., suggested in a tweet on Sunday that the absence of the two companies could indicate that they have something to hide.

An executive from Microsoft will be among the witnesses present.

As previously reported by Reuters, the U.S. government launched a national security investigation into TikTok over political censorship concerns, as well as fears the platform could be targeted by foreign influence campaigns.

Data from U.S. consumers is said to be stored domestically, though its owner – ByteDance Technology – is China-based and subject to Chinese laws. ByteDance also acquired U.S. social media app Musical.ly for $1 billion two years ago.

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A source confirmed to FOX Business on Monday that there are ongoing, informal conversations taking place between TikTok and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. The committee reviews deals by foreign acquirers for national security risks. It is unclear at this time whether the group will open a formal investigation.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement last month that TikTok is a potential “counterintelligence threat” that the U.S. “cannot ignore.”

FOX Business’ Hillary Vaughn contributed to this article.

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